Boychoirs - Page Two!Die Tölzer Knabenchor
The Tölzer Knabenchor has to be one of the more colorful and crowd-pleasing boy choirs of our world!
The group was founded in 1956 by Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, who was only nineteen years old at the time. Most of the boys come from Munich, but Bad Tölz also provides some of the members.
Composed of several choirs, the boys usually do over 200 performances each year. They have toured in many countries, including China, Japan, Israel, England, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and the United States.
The Tölzers, under the direction of Conductor Schmidt-Gaden, have really been into television and home video production. Click on the photo above for links to almost fourteen minutes of their singing during the 1983 presentation of "Land der Lieder". For this concert they sang children's songs from Erich Ferstl with texts from Andrea Wegner. The Tölzer Knabenchor has produced a complete CD with similar songs under the title "Oma füttert ihren Pudel". You will find extensive information about some of their recent concerts at THIS SITE!
Die Regensburger Domspatzen
In 1976 the Regensburger Domspatzen celebrated their 1000th anniversary. (They are the oldest boys' choir in the world!). This famous choir of Regensburg, Germany has made numerous CDs-- I have one which they recorded with James Galway and the Munich Radio Orchestra. You can learn much about their current program at THEIR WEBSITE. But I would like to share my 1993 visit to their school with you. I first heard of the Domspatzen in 1986 while watching a TV documentary about Christmas traditions in Germany. The show was narrated by Loretta Switt, famous in the U.S. for her portrayal of Margaret "Hotlips" Houlihan in the M*A*S*H series. Click on the picture at left, above, for a segment of the documentary in which she pulls a chorister named Robert from the front row-- and asks him a couple of questions. I had no idea then-- that I would be able to visit with the same Robert six years later in Regensburg! A few months before I visited Europe in 1993 I had written two letters (in German, with the help of translations by an e-mail friend in Germany) to arrange a visit to the choir school. I was met by Wolfgang, a very nice young man who spoke fluent English. First I attended a rehearsal with the then conductor Georg Ratzinger, who led the choir from 1964 until 1994. The rehearsal began with boys singing individually for their leader-- Click on the picture at right to see a video clip! It was a bit of a surprise to me that the boys never stood once-- quite different from the *standing* tradition of U.S. boychoirs. Director Ratzinger kept the boys busy and demanded their undivided attention, but just as soon as the rehearsal ended, all the boys gathered around him at the piano as they would their beloved grandfathers! Following the rehearsal we went by the indoor swimming pool and the cafeteria. I then mentioned the 1986 documentary to Wolfgang and was surprised first that he knew of it, and even more surprised when he told me that Robert was still there! In 1995 I received a letter from Robert, telling me about the choir's recent tour through Poland which Wolfgang had helped arrange for them. He wrote: "We had to fight against the temperature (-27 degrees C.), we had to cope with the theft of our car (We still had our bus) and we sang the concerts, which were actually very good." He went on to say that the people in Poland were very friendly. Best of all, Robert enclosed a 100 minute cassette of "live audience" performances which the choir had done. The sound quality is excellent, so I went ahead and published a sample at 80 Kbps. The recording was made December 13, 1994 in the Auditorium Maximum at Regensburg University. Their Domkapellmeister for this concert was Roland Büchner who had acquired the position on June 25th. I think you will enjoy his arrangement of "GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN"!
Although only about half as old as the Regensburger Domspatzen, the Vienna Choir Boys are easily the most frequently heard boychoir in the world. They currently maintain four choirs, at least one of which is usually on a world tour. Although the concert tours allow Austria's singing ambassadors to visit many countries and learn about other clultures, they are demanding-- sometimes lasting a couple of months. During this time they travel with only their conductor and one or two other adults. It is a testimonial to how much Austrians love their country and their music-- that these boys can be separated from their families and friends for such long periods of time! Back home in Vienna, the other choirs sing locally, many times with adult males of groups such as Herrenchores der Staatsoper Wien. The Real Video clip available by clicking on the color photo (above, left) is from a concert done with that group and orchestra in the Church of St. Stephan, Baden bei Wien. The conductor was Uwe Christian Harrer. If you prefer higher quality stereo sound, try our 82 Kbps Audio Only Version . Additional information about the Vienna Choir Boys, including concert and tour schedules, is available at their official website!